I have always had some kind of love/hate relationship with Ghost 'n Goblins. During the years it has offered wonderful action, great graphics and classic game music, but it's also a game that made me tear my hair out from frustration. This is largely due to its fiendish difficulty, which even stood out during the much more punishing games of yesteryear.
Part of the problem with the series is the way that the brave and underwear-clad knight Arthur moves. He sort of drags himself across the screen slowly, even though the animations suggest that he is running at high speed. And when he jumps, you are given little control when it comes to the height and angle of your jump. If you jump to the right, he will jump about 45 degrees forward and make you an easy victim if an enemy is to suddenly spawn.
The controls also sometimes makes it a challenge to even jump up on a simple platform, as you have to back up a bit to get the correct angle. And considering that the game contains a lot of platforming sections, you may see here where my frustration comes from. Precision jumps and primitive controls don't exactly go hand-in-hand, but it's problems are much deeper than that.
Capcom is not shy when it comes to completely drenching you with enemies. Preferably from angles where you can not defend yourself. It ultimately creates a game that borders on pure sadism. Despite that, as I said, love is baked in as well, because the game is rarely unfair. You have all the tools you need to be able to make good progress, and it's clear that a lot of care and attention has been poured into its horror-themed levels.
Resurrection did feel very familiar at first, but there was a certain snappiness not present that I experienced within the earlier titles. This is often something that is noticeable in newer takes on pixelated classics, and is partly due to the fact that there is more lag in wireless controllers and high-resolution TVs. It becomes especially noticeable in such an extremely demanding game as Ghosts' n Goblins Resurrection. Thankfully, there are five levels of difficulty here and I shamelessly chose to decrease from the second most difficult (the hardest one is default) to the middle to spare my blood pressure.
Graphically, of course, there are no pixels anymore, but while we have received some really nice new versions of pixel games in recent years such as Streets of Rage 4 and Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap, I think this, unfortunately, does not deliver. It most closely resembles old Flash graphics and the overall design is pretty sketchy. In addition, they have failed to reinterpret the wonderful soundtrack. Of course, we get to hear the wonderful tunes in all of their glory, but I had hoped for much better arrangements than this.
To try and add something new to the rescue operation to free Princess Prin-Prin from ghosts and, well... goblins, there's also a skill tree to give Arthur new abilities. Unlockable skills include fires that burn around you while you run and lightning that shoots in all directions. Being able to clear the screen from enemies in different ways is liberating, and actually adds something. There is also a two-person mode, where players two shoulder the roles of Archie, Barry or Carry, who all have different characteristics. Personally, I felt that this makes the game a little easier, but it can also have an adverse effect as it can obscure some important details.
In addition to reviewing Ghosts' n Goblins Resurrection, I also played Capcom Arcade Stadium during this period. A collection of arcade games that actually includes Ghost n 'Goblins. And unfortunately, I still have to say that I had more fun with the original. The original's gorgeous pixel graphics make the challenges clearer while the stunning chip tunes sets the mood. Resurrection is by no means a bad game, and the boss fights in particular are often really exciting, but it's like Capcom did not really know how close to stick to the original.
Sadly, Resurrection struggles to capture what made the original titles feel so memorable. Its controls are clunky and make an already challenging more difficult, and its graphics and sound have a distinctly budget feel to them. Due to its shortcomings, I know that I'll be returning back to the originals if I have the temptation to rescue a princess in my underwear again.
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